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George Infanti, left, with his wife Ruth, was the guest of honor at a roast held by the Milford Rotary Club on Wednesday. (NANCY BEAN FOSTER PHOTO)

Milford's Infanti roasted by 150 of his closest friends


MILFORD - On Wednesday morning, George Infanti thought he was going to watch a troupe of comedians perform a special show for the Rotary, but when he arrived at the Souhegan Valley Boys and Girls Club, he realized he'd been duped.

Infanti, 65, a well-known figure who has served on the boards of selectmen in Milford, Wilton and Amherst and owns Milford Paint, discovered when he arrived at the club that he was the star of the show.

Arriving with his wife, Ruth, he walked into a crowd of nearly 150 family, friends, local officials and fellow Rotarians who gathered to celebrate Infanti's tireless efforts to serve his community and make life better for others.

Stunned and a bit teary-eyed, Infanti, who has been battling an aggressive form of cancer, looked around the crowd and said, "I'm not going to have enough time to fight all of you."

Members of the Milford Rotary, which the Infanti family has been involved with for years, organized the event, serving up Infanti's favorite meal - lobster - and bringing together people who have worked or played beside Infanti since he was a young boy growing up in Milford.

His pal, Steve Desmarais, led the event, showing a montage of photographs from Infanti's life in New Hampshire, while folks who attended the event, including U.S. Rep. Charlie Bass, shared stories about Infanti.

Bass spoke of his daughter, Lucy, who at the age of 3 fell in love with Infanti and would wander around the house saying, "gorgeous George," over and over again.

The ability of Infanti to sell two gallons of paint to a customer who only needed one was pointed out in a letter from Chuck Simpson. Simpson said that Infanti "walks into a room filled with 100 strangers and sees it as a room with filled with 100 new friends."

"I want to thank you," said former Milford Town Administrator Lee Mayhew, who worked with Infanti in two of the three towns where Infanti served as selectman. "Your composure, demeanor, intellect, knowledge of the community, and caring for the community is fantastic."

"George is a lot of fun to have around," said his brother, Jim Infanti. "You never know what's going to happen next."

A private detective outfit was presented to Infanti, who always wanted to try his hand at solving mysteries, along with some rubber bands to celebrate his self-proclaimed flexibility and a box of paper clips because, as friend Cynthia Dokmo pointed out, "For some reason George always has paper clips in his pocket."

Infanti stood, reached into his pocket and proved Dokmo right.

"I look around this room and I see the memories of so many years and so much fun," said Infanti. "And there are stories that we don't need to share."

nfoster@newstote.com

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